ADOLF Hitler and Robert the Bruce are the two most significant figures in history, according to a new survey of the Scottish public.

The Nazi leader and Scottish king topped an online poll of the figures the public thought were most important in the teaching of history in Scottish schools.

The list of twenty figures also includes Scottish inventor James Watt, Russian leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Mary, Queen of Scots.

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The survey, the first of its kind, was carried out by the Scottish Association of Teachers of History (Sath) as part of a report on the future of history teaching north of the Border. Sath has been concerned about the make-up of history courses associated with the new curriculum for excellence and its exams.

The survey was conducted to find out how well current subject matter tallies with the views of the wider public on which historical figures are important. Neil McLennan, president of Sath, said: "It would be nice in five years' time if we have more of a balance between Scottish, British, European and world figures."

German studies, for example, would include the rise of democracy and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The recommendations of the Sath report also include a call for an expansion in the study of Chinese history, and greater efforts to generate interest in women's history and local history.

Mr McLennan said: "Local history should appear all the way through the curriculum because it is vital to understanding the world we live in and it engages pupils and makes history more relevant."

Scottish Public's Top 20 Historical Figures

1 Adolf Hitler/Robert the Bruce

2 James Watt

3 Thomas Paine

4 Robert Tannahill/Mao Tse Tung/Lenin/John Knox

5 William Beveridge/Churchill/James Connolly/FD Roosevelt/David Lloyd George/Thomas Johnston/David Livingston/Mary Queen of Scots

6 Alexander McGillivray/Andrew de Moray/Richelieu/Stalin